We are no strangers to floods in South Florida, but often times these conditions can catch us off guard. Floods can pose several dangers and ensuring your safety and that of your family’s in the aftermath is imperative.
Always pay attention to weather updates and information from local authorities regarding street closures. It takes only 12 inches of water to float a car so stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. It is difficult to judge water levels, so the best advice is to never drive thru flood waters of unknown depth.
If you must leave your home for some reason, watch out for:
Again, if you are unsure of the water levels it is best to stay away from the area. Should your car stall while driving thru flooded streets get out right away and walk to higher ground.
If the flooding is severe turn off all water and electrical sources. Do not touch outlets, fuse-boxes, or appliances if there is any chance they may have gotten wet. Have a qualified, professional electrician inspect your system if you are unsure.
Document Any Damage
When it is safe to do so, take pictures and write down details of any damage to your property and car. Even you are not sure if the damage is serious it is best to document it so you can file a claim with your insurance agent if necessary.
Things to look out for in your home are structural damages like warping, cracks, gaps, or buckling in the foundation, floor, ceiling, or walls. Make sure all doors and windows open and close properly as well. Contact your utility company if you suspect damage to your electric, sewer, water, or gas lines.
Assess the damage to your car by looking out for muddy waterline on the exterior and interior of your car. If the water reached higher than halfway up the wheels do not turn on your car as this can signal water in the engine and cause severe damage. If you are unsure as to the extent of damage your vehicle may have sustained, it is best to contact an experienced mechanic to inspect it.
Clean Up Process
Standing water must be removed immediately as it can cause mold, structural damage to your home, and damage to your furniture and car. You can use pails, pumps, and wet / dry vacuums in the clean-up process. Once water has been removed from your home or car you can clean surfaces with bleach to prevent mold from developing. Always wear protective gear such as gloves and a face mask.
Throw out any carpeting, bedding, upholstered furniture, food items, etc. that may have come in contact with flood waters. While some items may be salvaged with proper treatment, if there is chance anything was contaminated by sewage it is best to dispose of it.
If there is anything you are not comfortable handling it is always best to contact a professional.
Call your insurance agent immediately after a flood. Your agent will help you with the claim process and will also advise you of any steps you should take before you begin the clean-up process.
If you have comprehensive auto insurance this will help cover any damages your car may have sustained. For your home however, only flood insurance will cover damages. If you are unsure whether or not your car or home is covered in case of a flood, contact one of our agents.